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The TOMS, 'Other Boys Do'

Few designs set the power-pop record collector's heart aflutter like the red-and-white checkerboard of The TOMS' self-titled debut. Original copies are scant and previous reissues go for silly amounts of money. But when you hear these songs, it's like the British Invasion hit New Jersey in 1979: chiming guitars, cheerful vocal harmonies and clean-cut drumming with a touch of punk spunk... all played by one person, Tommy Marolda, who has since written scores for movies like Staying Alive and Days of Thunder.

"Other Boys Do" is just one of many gems on an expanded reissue due March 10 via Feel It Records. What begins as a Beatles-inspired mop-top romp replete with handclaps quickly becomes a musical tête-à-tête. As Marolda sweetly (but cheekily) sings his I'm-not-like-other-boys sales pitch, the guitar seems to personify the object of his affection — and they're not having it. "I don't see no point in us being here together," he sings. "If all you wanna do is have me treat you like the other boys do." The guitar responds with a flirtatious five-note figure, as if to say, Well, come and show me. Strummed chords lag and linger, teasing him. Spurts of choppy riffs and licks ratchet up to a twin lead guitar climax, toying with a will-they-or-won't-they tension. It's a deliciously clever soap opera delivered in three minutes.

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